Paradoxes of the New Authoritarianism

Why are the unfree regimes of the former Soviet world proving so durable? A lack of ideology and—perhaps surprisingly—a degree of openness are proving to be not so much problems for authoritarianism as bulwarks of it.

PDF icon Paradoxes of the New Authoritarianism

The Freedom House Survey for 2010: Democracy Under Duress

The past decade began at a high point for freedom but ended with freedom in peril. Yet the setbacks of the last five years do not outweigh the democratic gains of the last forty.


Liberation Technology: China’s “Networked Authoritarianism”

Chinese authoritarianism has deftly adapted to the Internet Age, employing various forms of technological controls. China’s brand of networked authoritarianism serves as a model for other regimes, such as those of Iran and Russia.


Liberation Technology: The Battle for the Chinese Internet

In China, the Internet is not merely contested space between citizen and government. It is also a catalyst for social and political transformation, offering the possibility of better governance with greater citizen participation.


Liberation Technology: Whither Internet Control?

Paradoxically, the rising profile of “liberation technology” may push Internet-control efforts into nontechnological areas—imprisonment rather than censorship, for example—for which there is no easy technical “fix.”

PDF icon Liberation Technology: Whither Internet Control?

The Politics of Personality in Brazil

Dilma Rousseff won the 2010 presidential election as the handpicked successor of a towering political personality. Now she must assert firm sway over a ruling party and coalition to which she has remarkably slender ties, and face new challenges that her country cannot meet with “more of the same.”


Kenya’s New Constitution

Wracked by postelection violence in 2007 and 2008, Kenya embarked upon a course of constitutional change that culminated in an August 2010 referendum. How was the new basic law framed and passed, and what will it mean for democracy in this key East African country?


Latin America’s Gay-Rights Revolution

Even before Argentina’s landmark gay-marriage law was passed in July 2010, a gay-rights revolution was well underway across Latin America. But do gay rights by law equal acceptance of gays in practice?


Jordan Votes: Election or Selection?

In late 2010, not long before seismic political change was to erupt across the Middle East, Jordan held parliamentary elections. Officials were eager to present these as a fresh start, but a closer look tells a different tale.


Sri Lanka: From Turmoil to Dynasty

Having only recently emerged from a prolonged and remarkably bitter civil war, Sri Lanka is now slipping steadily under the hardening authoritarian control of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family.


FOI Laws Around the World

Are laws guaranteeing citizens freedom of access to public information (FOI laws) among the most important democratic innovations of the last century?


Mauritius: Paradise Reconsidered

Once dismissed as an “overcrowded barracoon,” this Indian Ocean island nation has more recently been hailed as one of Africa’s “emerging success stories,” but the truth is that some troublesome shadings haunt this rosy picture.


Books in Review: Opening North Korea

A review of Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea by Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard.


Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Belarus, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Haiti, Kosovo, Niger, Samoa, and Uganda.


Documents on Democracy, April 2011